In contrast to wearable gadgets, smart garments enable even more sensing and actuating possibilities due to closeness to the user`s body. Humans naturally use garments for several reasons such as protection or aesthetics. Many parts of the human body are naturally covered by garments which can be enriched with technology. Smart garments can thereby either sense implicitly information about the user or be used for direct input and output. This can be done similar to wearable gadgets without the necessity of attaching additional sensing but only wearing enriched clothing. In addition, the area of the user`s body which can be used for interaction is increased since clothing can cover more locations compared to wearable gadgets. We expect that with further advancement in smart garments, regular garments eventually get substituted by smart garments. As soon as smart garments are producible for similar costs and offer similar properties with regards to their wearability compared to regular cloth, smart clothing will become pervasive. Every piece of garment will incorporate technology that can be used for designing novel ways of interacting. This fundamental change enables novel interaction means which can be exploited for enriching the interaction with mobile devices. However, several challenges still need to be tackled.
Extending the Input Space of Smartwatches
Smartwatches provide quick and easy access to information. Due to their wearable nature, users can perceive the information while being stationary or on the go. The main drawback of smartwatches, however, is the limited input possibility. They use similar input methods as smartphones but thereby suffer from a smaller form factor. To extend the input space of smartwatches, we present GestureSleeve, a sleeve made out of touch enabled textile. It is capable of detecting different gestures such as stroke based gestures or taps. With these gestures, the user can control various smartwatch applications. Exploring the performance of the GestureSleeve approach, we conducted a user study with a running application as use case. In this study, we show that input using the GestureSleeve outperforms touch input on the smartwatch. In the future the GestureSleeve can be integrated into regular clothing and be used for controlling various smart devices.